Tag Archives: Castro Street Fair

Cowardly, bigoted Barack Obama defers the dream yet again

Gay rights advocates Sergio Llanos, left, of Queens, and Vito Hernovich, of Manhattan, chant slogans during a rally for same sex marriage outside the LGBT gala fundraiser where President Barack Obama

Protesters take part in a demonstration supporting same-sex marriages outside Sheraton Hotel where U.S. President Barack Obama was attending a function in New York

Associated Press and Reuters photos

My sentiments exactly: Actual gay-rights activists protest outside of the gala fundraiser that “LGBT” sellouts held for Barack Obama in Manhattan today. To continue to support Barack Obama’s perpetually deferred dream of equal (and not “separate but equal”) human and civil rights for non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals is treason against the cause.

I remember my visit to San Francisco for the Castro Street Fair in October 2007. (No, it wasn’t one of those San Francisco street fairs where you see any nudity or sexual activity — unfortunately…)

I remember being given, at the street fair, a sticker with the 2008 Obama presidential campaign logo on it, incorporating the rainbow that symbolizes the “LGBT” “community.”

(I use quotation marks around those because “LGBT” always sounded like a type of sandwich to me, and it always has struck me that we creative gay men and lesbians and other non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals — we queers — could have done much, much better than that, and “community” infers connections that, in my observation, don’t actually exist.)

I remember the Obama rainbow sticker from October 2007 not only because I actually put it on, which I usually don’t do when I’m handed stickers (but I did that time because at that time I actually had some hope for change), but also because the fucking sticker ruined my faux suede shirt, off of which the adhesive didn’t want to come.

I just did a search for the image, and I do believe that this is the image that I’m talking about:

2007-08-09-obamapridecol.jpg

Interestingly, the above image comes from a short August 2007 blog post in which gay author Dan Savage snarkily observes: “He was first out of the gate with a rainbow logo, so I guess I’m obligated to vote for this guy. Must… obey… rainbow…”

The sarcastic Savage had a point. The “Democratic Party” has devolved into a collection of identity groups at whom empty promises are thrown and whose financial support and votes are taken for fucking granted by the “Democratic” operatives who believe that they’re smarter than everyone else.

But I, for one of millions, took Obama’s 2008 campaign promises seriously. (No, those trusting souls who are lied to are not stupid or even naive. They are the victims of fucking liars.)

“I believe that gay couples deserve the same legal rights as every other couple in this country,” The Associated Press reports Obama said today at a swank “LGBT” fundraiser in Manhattan.

However, the AP also notes that, paradoxically, Obama’s official stance on the issue of same-sex marriage remains what it has been for a long time now: that he supports separate-but-unequal civil unions over same-sex marriage but that he nonetheless believes that it should be up to each state to determine whether or not it will have legalized same-sex marriage.

Wow.

Until 1967, it was up to each state to decide whether or not to outlaw mixed-race marriage — until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that year, in Loving vs. Virginia, that it is unconstitutional for any of the states to outlaw mixed-race marriage.

So the “states’ rights” “argument” that Obama still is using  just doesn’t fucking cut it for me, and do I really need to go there on the perverse irony of the nation’s first black president actually fucking advocating the idea of “separate but equal,” the bullshit justification that the segregationists used for racial segregation?

Also in October 2007, besides being introduced to the Obama rainbow sticker, I met my husband Tony (no, not at the Castro Street Fair [not that there would have been anything wrong with that…]).

I write “husband” because we are, where it really counts, married. October 13, 2011 will be our fourth anniversary of having been together in our monogamous relationship.

In those four years, we’ve had our ups and downs — just like a marriage. Sharing a bed, celebrating holidays and our anniversary and our birthdays together, dealing with unglamorous but necessary everyday tasks like shopping, laundry and doing the dishes, and my having taken care of him when he’s been sick — it sure the hell feels like a marriage to me.

But I can’t legally say that Tony is my “husband” because same-sex marriage is legally tied up here in California right now.

So here it is, almost four years later from when the fucking Obama ’08 rainbow sticker ruined my fucking shirt, and Obama very apparently still hasn’t budged a fucking inch from where he was then.

“So, yes, we have more work to do,” Obama said today at his little fundraiser, according to the AP. “Yes, we have more progress to make. Yes, I expect continued impatience with me on occasion.”

That Obama has acknowledged our “impatience” isn’t nearly fucking enough for me. His acknowledgment of our “impatience” is a scrap of a scrap of a scrap to me, but apparently we of the “LGBT” “community” are to be in such fucking awe of The Great Obama that we’re just supposed to shut the fuck up now because Hey, he has acknowledged our “impatience”!

I gave Obama hundreds of dollars in Round One. In Round Two, he gets not a fucking penny from me.

And in November 2008, when I walked into my neighborhood polling place, I still wasn’t certain who, in the end, would get my vote for U.S. president. I had it narrowed down to Barack Obama or Ralph Nader.

I filled in the oval next to “Barack Obama.”

That’s a mistake that I won’t make again in 2012.

Barack Obama can continue to claim that he is still “evolving” until his lips are even bluer. If I stated that my views on racial segregation or the legality of mixed-race marriage were still “evolving,” I — appropriately — would be called a racist and a white supremacist.

Yet it’s supposed to be perfectly fucking acceptable that Barack Obama allegedly is still pondering the morality of any of the states refusing to legally allow any two consenting adults to marry each other, giving them the same legal rights, benefits and responsibilities as any other couples who legally may marry.

Gay indeed is the new black, and I’m one faggot who isn’t going to take it up the ass from the “Democratic Party” anymore.

At least the majority of the traitors who comprise the Repugnican Tea Party are up front about wanting to keep non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals in third-class-citizen status.

The “Democratic Party,” on the other hand, tells us non-heterosexuals and non-gender-conforming individuals that it wuvs us and it wants our money and our votes (which for the most part it takes for granted — where else are we going to go, right?), but tells us that we have to keep waiting, keep waiting, keep waiting, keep waiting, keep waiting…

This dream perpetually deferred is fucking bullshit, and until and unless Obama the coward and his cowardly cohorts decide to man up and join the rest of us who are fully evolved, the “Democrats” can kiss my fucking ass.

I’d rather the Repugnican Tea Party traitors win elections than to continue to have the “Democrats” as my frenemies.

I’m gay, but that doesn’t mean that I have no fucking self-esteem and that I can be punk’d forfuckingever.

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Potbellies in, buffness out?

Is this actually becoming the new standard of male attractiveness? (If so, then I’m one attractive guy! [But I don’t have man-boobs (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) and I’m a bit more endowed than that…])

Has the chiseled, buff look been so co-opted by gay men over the past several years that the chiseled, buff look now actually is considered to be effeminate?

How fucking pleasantly ironic if so!

I was delighted to see a recent piece on the New York Times’ website indicate that perhaps this is so — and that the potbelly (the “Ralph Kramden”) apparently is in. From the piece:

…[T]his year an unexpected element has been added to [men’s popular] look, and that is a burgeoning potbelly [that] one might term the “Ralph Kramden.”

Too pronounced to be blamed on the slouchy cut of a T-shirt, too modest in size to be termed a proper beer gut, developed too young to come under the heading of a paunch, the Ralph Kramden is everywhere to be seen lately…

Leading with a belly is a male privilege of long standing, of course, a symbol of prosperity in most cultures and of freedom from anxieties about body image that have plagued women since Eve.

Until recently, men were under no particular obligation to exhibit bulging deltoids and shredded abdominals; that all changed, said David Zinczenko, the editor of Men’s Health, when women moved into the work force in numbers. “The only ripples Ralph Kramden” and successors like Mike Brady of “The Brady Bunch” had to demonstrate were in their billfolds, said Mr. Zinczenko, himself a dogged crusader in the battle of the muffin top. “But that traditional male role has changed.”

As women have come to outnumber men in the workplace, it becomes more important than ever for guys to armor themselves, Mr. Zinczenko said, with the “complete package of financial and physical,” to billboard their abilities as survivors of the cultural and economic wilds.

This makes sense, in a way, but how does one account for the new prevalence of Ralph Kramdens? Have men given in or given up? …

“I sort of think the six-pack abs obsession got so prissy it stopped being masculine,” is how Aaron Hicklin, the editor of [the gay men’s magazine] Out, explains the emergence of the Ralph Kramden. What once seemed young and hot, for gay and straight men alike, now seems passé.

Like manscaping, spray-on tans and other metrosexual affectations, having a belly one can bounce quarters off suggests that you may have too much time on your hands.

“It’s not cool to be seen spending so much time fussing around about your body,” Mr. Hicklin said.

And so guys can happily and guiltlessly go to seed.

Women have almost never gotten a pass on the need to maintain their bodies, while men always have, said Robert Morea, a personal fitness trainer (full disclosure: my own).

It would be too much, he added, to suggest that “potbellies are suddenly OK,” but as lean muscle and functionality become the new gym mantras, hypertrophied He-Men with grapefruit biceps and blister-pack abs have come to resemble specimens from a diorama of “A Vanished World.”

“When do you ever see that guy, anyway?” Mr. Morea asked, referring to those legendary Men’s Health cover models, with their rippling torsos and famished smiles. “The only time you really see that guy, he’s standing in front of an Abercrombie & Fitch store.”

Perhaps, he suggested, there is really only one of them. “It’s the same guy. They just move him around.”

I’m not advocating that the “Ralph Kramden” should be the new gold standard for gay men’s look and that thus those soon-to-be-extinct dinosaurs with the “grapefruit biceps” should stop lifting weights and start developing watermelon abs.

I advocate that we gay men learn how to love and appreciate each other as human beings rather than as mere pieces of meat and that we see the beauty in all kinds of physical forms.

And, as much as this “bear”* might love to see chunky become the new gold standard of gay male beauty and to see the gym rats fall by the wayside — it would seem like exquisitely rare poetic justice — I hate gay clones and I don’t want voluptuous to become the new buff. Clones are clones, no matter how much body fat they are packing.

Speaking of gay clones, I understand that the gay men of the Castro district of San Francisco in the 1970s all looked alike — ectomorphic (slim) to mildly to moderately mesomorphic (muscular) — so that the phenomenon of gay clones has been with us for decades, apparently.

When I attended the Castro Street Fair almost two years ago, it was apparent that the ideal gay look was chiseled and buff (i.e., extremely mesomorphic).

After the thousandth shirtless hyper-mesomorphic clone that I saw at the street fair, I saw some normal-looking gay guys (that is, ectomorphic to mildly mesomorphic, not too thin but not buff or fat, either) at a kissing booth. After all of the nauseating mesomorphic clones, who apparently think that they’re special by copying everyone else, the ectomorphs-by-comparison at the kissing booth were looking very appealing to me. Seriously; after all of those walking slabs of beef I just wanted to see some normal guys.

When I see an uber-buff gay guy, I don’t think: Stud! I think: This guy spends waaay too much time in the gym to have developed any sort of a personality. This guy cares way too much about what others think of his appearance to have any substance. And of course he’s going to judge me by the same superficial standards by which he judges himself. And I think: The aging process is going to chew this guy up and spit him out.

Not that you can’t take care of yourself. Not that I oppose healthful practices.

But the swarms of sides of beef that I saw at the Castro Street Fair almost two years ago weren’t about health. They were about vanity and about wanting to be at the top of the gay-looks pecking order. My guess is that many if not most of them were on steroids, causing long-term damage to their bodies as well as to their souls.

The buff look became the gold standard for gay men sometime in the 1990s. Maybe it was the economic plenty of the Clinton years that freed up so many gay men’s time to be able to live in the gym.  

Gay porn, on which I am a bit of an expert, went from normal-looking guys in the 1970s to the early to mid-1980s to the buff look by the 1990s to the present.

Guys in 1970s mainstream gay porn rarely were fat, it is true, but they weren’t bodybuilders, either. Today, virtually no gay porn star can make it big unless he’s big because he lives in the gym.

Hopefully, the New York Times piece is correct and this is about to change.

Before I wrap this up, let me share a personal anecdote:

I attend a gay men’s discussion group once a week and a newbie named Albert (his real first name) came this past week. He’s about my age and he has a significant “Ralph Kramden” going on.

All that I could see (and feel) was Albert’s strong, positive energy. He’s newly out of the closet, says that he’s a construction foreman, and he looks it; you wouldn’t know that he’s gay unless he told you.

After group, when I remarked to another gay guy who had attended the group that I found Albert to be an attractive man (admittedly, it’s a contributing factor that Albert at least somewhat resembles a [slimmer] ex-boyfriend of mine whom I’ll always love), my peer stated that no, not with that belly is Albert attractive!

Wow.

I saw Albert, and apparently all that my peer could see was Fat Albert.    

We gay men want acceptance from the non-gay community when we don’t exactly have a shitload of acceptance within our own…

Yeah, you betcha, I sure in the hell hope that chunky becomes acceptable within the gay community. And that thin remains in.

And that it’s even still OK to be buff, too. 

P.S. I stumbled upon a Slate article critical of the New York Times piece on potbellies.

I hate Slate. First of all, it’s owned by mega-corporation MSN, so I’ve always been suspect of Slate from the get-go. Secondly, the writers always seem to look down upon their audience.

Anyway, the Slate writer writes that the New York Times writer “names no leader of potbelly hipness and uncovers no evidence of hip potbellies in the cinema, the stage, the concert hall, the night club or elsewhere. It’s just these random guts strolling around New York.”

OK, it’s not like they’re going to do a scientific study on the critically important subject of the hipness of potbellies, but the New York Times writer might be correct. And if potbellies are just now becoming hip, it would take a little bit of time for that fact to be reflected in the popular culture (duh!).

It seems to me that in times of economic downturn, people might focus less on the extras, less on the cosmetic. If you can’t make your house payment, maybe the status of your abdominal muscles isn’t so important to you anymore.

Time will tell whether or not the bulge is the new black.

*I put quotation marks around the word because while physically I am a “bear,” I don’t partake of the bear subculture and I don’t think that I have the “bear” persona.

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